Aspen columnist might be divisive, but misses the mark |

Aspen columnist might be divisive, but misses the mark

The Aspen Times found a gold mine when it added Glenn Beaton as a columnist. His views seem totally opposite to most of those who live in the valley or read his comments online. Inclusion of his work no doubt has increased circulation and revenues. I hope he gets a cut.

His comments on global warming published June 16 will no doubt create a crescendo of anger (“Aspen’s warnin’ warminites are chillin’”). Leave aside the fact that his views are at total variance with almost all the scientific community. The sound science to which Beaton appeals is almost unanimous on the issue. Rational economics is driving cities such as Miami to spend billions building new seawalls. Economically rational citizens of Central America are moving north because climate change has made substance farming impossible.

However, Beaton misses a very important point when he attacks what he calls the “marketing approach.” Today, the financial sector is putting fossil fuel producers out of business.

The signs are visible if you look. Shares of oil companies should account for around 10 to 12% of the S&P 500 given the price of oil today. They actually account for less than 5%. CEOs of companies such as BP plead to investors “buy my shares.” Investors do not listen.

Recently, the government of Norway ordered the managers of the country’s sovereign wealth fund — the world’s largest — to divest ownership of fossil fuels companies. Shares in BP and Shell were retained because these companies are pushing renewables.

The world’s fossil industry is being garroted by the investment community. The fossil industry will slowly die even if the “warminites,” as Mr. Beaton calls them, apologize unless he and his friends put up the trillions being withdrawn by the world’s investors who believe the scientific question has been decided.

Philip Verleger